The Art of Judgment Writing

Judgment writing has been one of the most exciting parts of judgeship for me and I’ve spent considerable time reflecting upon and trying to figure out ways and means to make them better.

I’ve written a series on this for Bar and Bench – which captures my thoughts on the art of judgment writing, drawing on my own experiences and the experiences of my colleagues at the bench, in India and abroad.

Since the greatest advice on writing is ‘showing’ and not just ‘telling’, in the series, I’ve tried to illustrate each point with some of the best and the worst written judgments, so that we can examine what makes them so.

I’ve also briefly touched upon the broad do’s and don’ts of writing a judgment, international best practices, writing a great introduction and the importance of writing with the audience in mind; All of this in Part I.

Part 1 – https://www.barandbench.com/columns/litigation-columns/diary-of-a-ex-judge-the-art-of-judgment-writing-part-i

In Part 2, we dive straight into what can be called the very heart of a judgment: the facts and the reasoning part.

Part 2https://www.barandbench.com/columns/diary-of-an-ex-judge-the-art-of-judgment-writing-part-ii

Part 3 https://www.barandbench.com/columns/diary-of-an-ex-judge-art-of-judgment-writing-part-iii

This is the third and the last part in a series on the‘Art of Judgment Writing’ written for younger members of the Bar aspiring to be judges. 

In the first two parts, we examined various facets of judgment writing such as: using an engaging introduction as a springboard for a well written judgment, explaining the facts clearly and succinctly, and, finally, penning-down the reasons for the decision – with greater clarity and precision. 

We also tried looking at some international best practices of judgment writing, standing on the shoulders of some of the giants of clear legal writing. 

In this part, we draw the curtain on the series by looking at some frequently misused words/phrases that one should avoid in order to make our judgments – not only more accessible and readable – but also more fun to read. We finally put a wrap on the series with some fun and games by looking at some examples of great ‘verse-atility’ in judgment writing.

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